India’s National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) hopes to resume flight testing in December for its Saras regional turboprop aircraft, a program that has been delayed following the 2009 crash of the program’s second prototype.

An NAL official says the flight tests will use the first prototype aircraft and by that time, the company will have completed a third prototype. Government approval will be required before the tests can resume. NAL aims to achieve Indian certification in early 2013.

The test flight program ended abruptly when the second test aircraft crashed, killing all three on board.

NAL’s first prototype aircraft is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada turboprop engines, flat rated at 850 shp, says the NAL executive, who asked not to be named, adding that the aircraft now being built has the same type of engines but these are set at 1,200 shp.

The aircraft is designed to be configured with up to 14 passenger seats, the executive says, adding that the Indian air force is expected to order 25 aircraft. These will replace some of the air force’s Dornier 228s, he adds.